The mainland is to revise its home-mortgage rules to stimulate demand for housing - one of the new engines for economic growth in the country - reports said yesterday. The People's Daily said as much as 100 billion yuan (about HK$93 billion) would be made available this year for mortgage loans and housing construction. Bank officials said changes in the mortgage rules would include extending the duration of mortgages and the number of banks permitted to issue such loans. Previously, mortgage lending was restricted to the Construction Bank but other state banks would now be encouraged to offer similar facilities. The People's Bank of China would also authorise commercial banks to offer mortgage loans to individuals in all cities in the country. The Market Daily yesterday joined an increasing chorus of mainland newspapers calling on the government to speed up housing reforms as a way of boosting the economy. The newspaper said in an editorial that the housing market was stuck in a slump and measures were necessary to boost individual purchases and stimulate the development of the commercial housing sector.